Wednesday, October 31, 2012


We set sail for Vanuatu on a Friday- something we never do- never ever. Yes, some might say it's superstitious, and it is. Oh wait, I say that, and I am superstitious. Because if you don't know what you're doing, it's best not to tempt fate. See there I go again. Well, we had one of the best passages ever, and safely anchored after dark (another thing we don't ever do). I guess Vanuatu is a special place, easy-going and safe.  Not being familiar with the anchorage and unable to gauge the distance between us and the anchor light of other boats, we dropped far outside the area. In the morning we awoke to the customs officials. They asked if we could please move closer to the other yachts before checking us in. They were so nice, and accommodating. We didn't have to call on the radio, or walk across town to multiple offices; it was the easiest of anywhere we've been. (FYI for cruisers, the Aneityum anchorage is open with good holding, our charts were accurate and coming in after dark was not a problem. Check-in was also easy, but there is no access to money here, only an exchange bank, so bring your $ US, NZ, Fijian or other currency. The fees totaled $80 US, and we were able to trade sugar and rice for produce).

This is downtown.
 Ladies sat in the shade and chatted, the men  were  hauling cinder blocks to a build site. It was a great place to get off the boat and run around.
Local kids hanging out in the residential area.

Miles flying his kite on Mystery Island

Self photo :)

A day at the beach with the crew of s/v Convivia!


Just hanging out
The villagers threw us a traditional dinner and invited us to ask any questions we had about their culture and way of life. After 3 bowls of kava, Krister was ready to chat (see previous post). The local kids ran around with Ruby and Miles (from Convivia), we all danced and talked and really got into the spirit of cross cultural exchanges.

Traditional dress

A short walk across the island through coconut palms and banana trees

I was so excited to find my first nautilus shell! ... followed by my 2nd, 3rd, 4th... Krister said I shouldn't keep them all, so I left a few for some one else to find. What a magical beach! 

We had a great time on Anetieyum and Mystery Island, but with such a short time left before we had to be in Australia, we had to keep moving. Early in the morning we set sail to Tanna. It was a long day's sail to Port Resolution, and our charts didn't provide much detail of the anchorage. The friendly locals came out to say hello, they brought delicious, organic produce and asked if we could come by and help fix their generators.

Krister assessing the generator  problem with Patrick, his son Louis, and the local boys.

The kids loved having their photo taken!

Britannia anchored in Port Resolution

Patrick's home, and village

Katie showing us the village garden. Sweet potato, taro, corn, beans, a variety of cabbage, papaya, banana,...

Beautiful banyan trees where everywhere
We made arrangements to visit Mt. Yasur, an active volcano. It was a bit on the expensive side, but like swimming with the whales in Tonga, it was unforgettably awe-inspiring. It felt like living on the pages of National Geographic. Even though I'd seen videos and photos, I was not prepared for the physical experience of standing on the edge of a living volcano. The minor eruptions sent pulses through the air; the shock waves could be seen in the smoke rising from caldera. The larger blasts sent adrenaline pulsing through our veins as we stumbled backwards in instinctual survival mode. The vibrations of the molten rock hitting the earth could be heard around the crater and the pulses of air forced out blew through us.

As the sun set, the lava glowed brighter and Mt Yasur  disclosed its secrets

Local fishermen in their homemade outrigger
After the volcano experience, we were off again. This time on an overnight passage to the capital, Port Vila on the island of Efate.
Krister on watch with the bananas received for working on a generator

The day before elections in Port Vila- voting is taken very seriously.  The streets were full of pride and  propaganda.

Amanda looking over Port Vila.
We've had such wonderful times here in Vanuatu, wish we could stay longer.

Footprints in the volcanic black sand


  1. Every bit as good as a Natoinal Geographic travel log,text and photos!, maybe there is hope for humanity after all. Gene

  2. I love it! The sand, the shells, kids, volcano, banyan trees!, beautiful Randa Cat and smiling Trister!,and especially the Cannibal soup! Great descriptions for the on-reader! OH man I love you Cats!
    AH Betty!